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Residents flee in panic as Indonesia’s Semeru volcano erupts

Photo Illustration

Indonesia’s Semeru volcano on Java island has erupted, spewing thick columns of ash high into the sky and triggering panic among people living nearby.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from Saturday’s eruption.

Videos shared by the country’s disaster mitigation agency (BNPB) showed residents running as towering smoke and ash blanketed some nearby villages in Lumajang district in East Java province.

The sudden eruption was accompanied by a thunderstorm and rain, which pushed lava and smouldering debris and formed thick mud that destroyed at least one bridge connecting two main villages of Pronojiwo and Candipuro, as well as hampering the evacuation, Lumajang district head Thoriqul Haq told TV One.

“Thick columns of ash have turned several villages to darkness,” Haq said, adding that several hundred people were moved to temporary shelters or left for other safe areas.

Television reports showed people running in panic under a huge ash cloud, their faces wet from rain mixed with volcanic dust.

The 3,676-metre (12,060-foot) Semeru, the highest on the country’s most densely populated island, had last erupted in January, with no casualties.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines. Indonesia has about 128 active volcanoes.

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Large Explosion at Aso Volcano, Kyushu Island, Japan

Explosion from Aso’s Nakadake crater this morning (image: screenshot of RKK video)

A strong explosion occurred this morning, at around 11:43 local time, from the volcano.

During a phase of intense steam emissions, suddenly an explosion occurs that sends a large column of ash to several kilometers height as well as a dense, ground-hugging circular base surge that almost reaches the visitors’center. On the following embedded video, large ballistic projectiles can be seen ejected from the center of the explosion and landing in several hundred meter distance as well.

From the appearance of the eruption, it looks most likely as a phreatic type explosion, or steam-driven, as a larger pocket of overheated water under the crater suddenly flashed to steam and decompressed in the process, generating lots of block and ash fragments as well as dense and heavy turbulent mixtures that are seen rising and spreading from the center.

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Volcanic Ash Advisory at Sakurajima Volcano in Japan

Satellite image of Sakurajima volcano on 7 Oct 2021

Volcanic Ash Advisory at Sakurajima Volcano in Japan

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Volcanic Ash Advisory at Reventador Volcano in Ecuador

Satellite image of Reventador volcano on 7 Oct 2021

Volcanic Ash Advisory at Reventador Volcano in Ecuador

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